UPDATE 1-Edward Rogers files petition in Canadian court to validate new Rogers Communications Board of Directors

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VANCOUVER, Oct.26 (Reuters) – Edward Rogers has filed a lawsuit in a British Columbia court to validate his reconstituted board of directors of Rogers Communications Inc, his spokesperson said on Tuesday, as the family struggle for control of one of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies is deepening.

Rogers, son of late founder Ted Rogers, is battling with his mother and two sisters over who should run the company after trying to oust CEO Joe Natale in late September.

Edward Rogers was removed from his role as president of Rogers Communications last week following his unsuccessful attempt to replace Natale with CFO Tony Staffieri.

Edward Rogers retaliated by forming a new board on Sunday, which recognized him as chairman. But the rival faction, including his mother and two sisters, appointed board member John MacDonald as chairman and reiterated their support for Natale.

While family differences and disagreements at the board level are not uncommon, a public dispute is rare in the Canadian business landscape.

Rogers shares fell 0.4% on Tuesday, adding to Monday’s more than 6% drop as analysts lowered the price target, saying ongoing disputes within the family would be a distraction for management. The stock is down 5% since the start of the year, against gains of 16.2% for rival BCE Inc and an increase of 11.4% for Telus.

This stock underperformance is believed to have partly contributed to Edward Rogers’ decision to pull Natale out, a person familiar with the matter said.

Rogers is also in the midst of its biggest M&A deal, with a planned C $ 20 billion ($ 16.2 billion) takeover bid for little rival Shaw Communications Inc. (Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver Edited by Denny Thomas and Matthew Lewis)

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